Nothing Unprecedented has Happened


One of the delights of the English language is that its extensive vocabulary facilitates nuance.

The recent overuse of the word “unprecedented” is to be deplored.

Today I illustrate with a little help from Peter Mark Roget.

Hasn't the last six months been amazing?

Whilst you could not say that the bushfires which devastated Australia were without warning, the extent of the damage was unforeseen.

It was surprising that the Prime Minister chose to holiday in Hawaii at that time. Just as it was unusual not to appoint his deputy while he was away. How unaccountable was that?

Then came the shocking news of the freakish coronavirus. Equivocal reports suggested that it originated in Wuhan, China before suddenly spreading throughout the world causing unexpected suffering and death to a staggering number of people.

What a wonderful response from the Australian governments, to take the abnormal step of creating a national cabinet, comprising the Prime Minister and all the State Premiers! Their ability to address both health and economic consequences, and to contain the virus has proven so successful despite how improbable that might have seemed in mid-March.

What a fantastic result!

How fortunate that nothing unprecedented has happened!

One day soon, I hope the children will return to school and learn many new words.

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Peter Francis Fenwick       Writer      Melbourne     Australia